Published Feb 24, 2015It's Decided is not technically a comeback for Andy Kim — the 62-year-old singer who went into semi-retirement in the 1990s released Happen Again in 2011 — but the album, which features contributions from members of Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think and Tortoise, is arguably his highest-profile release since "Rock Me Gently" topped the charts in 1974. To collaborate with Kevin Drew instead of a more conventional big-name producer like Don Was, T-Bone Burnett or Rick Rubin is an admirable, albeit risky gambit on Kim's part, but it's arguable, listening to the exceedingly polite It's Decided, whether the pairing truly pays off.
Listeners looking for the AM-radio ear candy of "Baby, I Love You" or "Sugar, Sugar" will not find it on It's Decided, which mostly sticks to stately atmospheric ballads; even 1968's bouncy "Shoot 'Em Up, Baby" is reconfigured as a Spectorian dirge awash in strings and horns. The writing is sharp ("I call myself a tunesmith to people I don't know") and there are definite hallmarks of Drew's past work: rumbling drums, bubbling keyboards and textured production on "It's Emotional" or BSS outtake "Who Came First." Still, it's hard not to wish for a bit more variation in tempo or mood.
While the album is a fine showcase for Kim's beautiful, ageless tenor, those expecting more of the singer's soulful, sunny hits or Broken Social Scene's sonic adventurousness are likely to walk away a bit disappointed from It's Decided's classy, if a bit monochromatic, adult pop. (Arts & Crafts)